G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s homebred Frivolous stalked the early pace before taking over in the stretch and held off 9-10 favorite Don’t Tell Sophia to win the $222,600 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) on the Nov. 27 Thanksgiving Day card at Churchill Downs (VIDEO).
The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Empire Maker—Sixty Rocketts, by Belong to Me, ridden by Jon Court under 117 pounds, tracked the moderate pace set by Teen Pauline and jockey Julien Leparoux as they took the field three-quarters of mile in 1:13.47. Shifted three wide in the far turn, Frivolous took a clear lead in the stretch and then withstood the late challenge of Don’t Tell Sophia.
Don’t Tell Sophia, the 125-pound highweight coming off a troubled second to Untapable in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), ran her typical race, racing last in the eight-horse field before unleashing a late rally that fell a half-length short. Molly Morgan, who was never far off the pace, finished third, followed by Flashy American, Tiz Windy, Mufajaah, Strut the Course, and Teen Pauline.
Final time for 1 1/8 miles over a fast main track was 1:51.24. The second-longest shot in the field of fillies and mares, Frivolous returned $40.80, $14.20, and $6.80, with Don’t Tell Sophia worth $3.00 and $2.20. Molly Morgan paid $3.80 to show. The top two combined for a $113.20 exacta payout for $2.
The Falls City was the first stakes triumph for Frivolous, who has been trained by Victoria Oliver, Humphrey’s daughter, to a record of 3-3-3 and earnings of $333,498 from 17 starts.
“She’s always been a spectacular filly, she really has,” Oliver said. “She never really had the kind of trip we wanted (in the past); she likes to be on the outside and Jon (Court) rode her perfect. She’s a free-striding filly. She got it today.”
Court, who recently turned 54, has had a resurgence since returning from a 21-week hiatus after breaking his right hand during an accident in the final race on Kentucky Derby Day.
“It’s been remarkably well and incredible,” Court said. “I’m very fortunate. I was very concerned coming back off the (broken) hand and they didn’t expect me to be back until 2015. But fortunately I was able to make it back many months earlier (on Sept. 27) and be able to start winning races… Coming back and winning this one for the Olivers today is the icing on the cake with the candles for my birthday week.”
This was the second straight year that Spinster Stakes (gr. I) winner Don’t Tell Sophia finished second in the Falls City.
“She ran hard,” trainer and part-owner Phil Sims said. “The pace was slow. They went the (first) quarter in :25 and we were 10 (lengths) off of it, and then they went the half in :49-and-change and we were still 10 off of it. She ran well despite the slow pace and the winner ran great. Carrying top weight is tough to do, and she was spotting everybody a lot of weight. But she ran well and we’re happy with her. It was a good try.”
Previous to the Thanksgiving Day feature at Churchill, the filly finished fourth, only 1 1/2 lengths behind winner Molly Morgan, in the Gardenia Stakes (gr. III) at Ellis Park; third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by winner Don’t Tell Sophia in the Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill; and fifth, only 1 3/4 lengths off winner White Rose, in the Dowager Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 19.
The Falls City—a reference to the Ohio River falls or rapids that drop some 30 feet just west of downtown Louisville—is one of the four original stakes races that were created by Churchill Downs founder Col. M. Lewis Clark for the inaugural meet in 1875. The race has been run on Thanksgiving Day since 1978.
Racing on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs has been a Louisville tradition since 1969. The track said more than 7,000 turkey dinners with all the trimmings—the largest number anywhere in the region—were served.
Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/88941/frivolous-posts-falls-city-handicap-upset#ixzz3KMgzvqEL